Gonadotropins, their receptors, and the regulation of testicular functions in fish

Rüdiger W Schulz, H F Vischer, J E Cavaco, M.E. Dos Santos Rocha, R.C. Tyler, H.J. Goos, J. Bogerd

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The pituitary gonadotropins luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) regulate steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis by activating receptors expressed by Leydig cells (LH receptor) and Sertoli cells (FSH receptor), respectively. This concept is also valid in fish, although the piscine receptors may be less discriminatory than their mammalian counterparts. The main biological activity of LH is to regulate Leydig-cell steroid production. Steroidogenesis is moreover modulated in an autoregulatory manner by androgens. The male sex steroids (testosterone in higher vertebrates, 11-ketotestosterone in fish) are required for spermatogenesis, but their mode of action has remained obscure. While piscine FSH also appears to have steroidogenic activity, specific roles have not been described yet in the testis. The feedback of androgens on gonadotrophs presents a complex pattern. Aromatizable androgens/estrogens stimulate LH synthesis in juvenile fish; this effect fades out during maturation. This positive feedback on LH synthesis is balanced by a negative feedback on LH release, which may involve GnRH neurones. While the role of GnRH as LH secretagogue is evident, we have found no indication in adult male African catfish for a direct, GnRH-mediated stimulation of LH synthesis. The limited available information at present precludes a generalized view on the testicular feedback on FSH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-17
Number of pages11
JournalComparative biochemistry and physiology b-biochemistry & molecular biology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


  • Androgens
  • Animals
  • Fishes
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Gonadotropins
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Male
  • Receptors, Gonadotropin
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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